We are Saku and Miia, second-year students of Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Our role in the project has been communications officers. We chose international teamwork as our topic and you can read our thoughts below regarding our International Project featuring a Finnish beverage company, and their possibilities abroad.
Being involved in an international market research project without international teamwork is like trying to understand global trends with a single country map. Can a global analysis even be properly achieved in the confinements of single-minded people? Thankfully our project did not have to go and try if that would work due to the injection of worldwide views from our brilliant exchange students! Hailing from Latin America and South-East Asia, we have come to mutual understanding that despite having our lives lived in other side of the world, we can easily unite when set up with common goals and practices.
As someone who has spent most of their lifetime being used to reading, writing, and talking in English I personally love the fact that no matter where you meet new people you almost always find a way to communicate, but doing so in an academic setting is a very new experience. Turns out, most of us all can sometimes be just as confused or unenthusiastic about certain processes no matter the age or setting. Completing the tasks sparks similar enthusiasm and feelings of success just alike. Mostly we have more in common in our everyday work than we can expect. When in doubt, sharing memes in an international setting works as an excellent icebreaker!
What comes in handy with an international team is mutual politeness, curiosity, and empathy. There are times and places to ask whether visitors have already eaten some vile looking traditional cuisine (I’m looking at you salmiakki and mustamakkara) while grinning from ear to ear, but it’s best not to scare everyone right at the beginning. I can only imagine how adjusting to the climate, scenery, and behavior of people are stressful enough to start with, so maybe take it easy. Try asking what they’ve experienced and take lessons from cultures outside of your own so you can begin to broaden your view and notice the world becoming smaller in the meantime.
Despite the somewhat bleak nature of autumn in Finland and the beginning of chilly winter times, I have grown to be proud of the bravery and curiosity of international exchange students entering our lives for this brief period. These times networking and brainstorming globally is a fine moment to embrace the differences and thinking out of the box, or borders if I may.
This project has been my first international project and I also have no previous experience of working in an international team. I was nervous about the international project because of the foreign language, almost so much that I started questioning the continuity of my studies. However, I gathered my courage and did not skip the project and now that the project is almost finished, I dare to say that it has proven to be a good choice.
Our project team consists of a total of seven students: four from Finland, two from Mexico and one from Hong Kong. I consider one of the good aspects of international projects to be that they give you the opportunity to get to know foreign cultures better. In my opinion, another benefit is the development of language skills. Our common language has been English, including working, communication, guidance classes and meetings with our client. When working in a foreign language, it forces you to leave your comfort zone and it has been absolutely welcome for me. During the project you can practice your language skills both spoken and in writing. I personally feel that I have gained a lot of courage, especially in the spoken English, which I probably would not have gained from other studies.
Even though the team spirit of our project team has been good, an international project team can also bring challenges. It is good to recognize that people from different cultures may have different ideas about schedules, for example, or it may be that some of the project team members work in a completely different country, in which case finding a common schedule would automatically be more challenging. It is good to try to avoid possible disagreements by proactively agreeing common rules of the game for the team right at the beginning of the project, but as in real life, it is also good to remember in these projects that you cannot always prepare for everything, and it is totally ok.
In the end, I would say that international teamwork should not be stressed as much I did, even if your language skills are not a strength. You learn by doing and the next time it will feel a little easier.
Suurin osa Showcasen blogeista on toteutettu osana Laurean opintojaksoja. Koko koulutustarjontaamme voi tutustua nettisivuillamme. Tarjoamme kymmenien tutkintoon johtavien koulutuksien lisäksi myös paljon täydennys- ja erikoistumiskoulutuksia sekä yksittäisiä opintojaksoja avoimen AMK:n kautta!